Biophilia: The Basis For Wellness Design

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Wellness has recently been in the spotlight, from news to Instagram trends. Merriam-Webster defines wellness as the quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal. When we design for wellness we create spaces that promote a feeling or sensation of good health. How do we achieve this? It’s simple. We can use biophilia as the driving mechanism for wellness design. This trend is changing the way we work, live, and operate within the built environment.

 
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There are three key pillars to a biophilia based design: nature in the space, natural analogs, and nature of the space. Each pillar speaks to the innate attraction that human beings have to nature. Biophilic design has evolved since it was conceptually defined in the 1980s by Edward O. Wilson. Biophilic design has taken on a new notion: what we now call wellness design. This applies concepts of biophilia to achieve a state of being in good health.

 
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Wellness design also prioritizes the effects of lighting, air, and sound quality, as well as the use of materials. In the past, wellness design incorporated a lot of natural light and spaces filled with plants. Today’s wellness design showcases natural materials such as woods and neutral or soothing colors that promote and create a healthy environment. There is an added focus on improving air quality and acoustics in a space.

 
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Some examples (as shown) display a broad range of woods with bold cathedrals to add contrast to a space. Wellness design can also incorporate linear woods, as they bring nature into a space with a subtle visual. These combinations work in tandem with calming tones such as neutral greys, blues, and greens. Interiors can also incorporate a mix of natural elements like plants. Designers can create wellness spaces to highlight a sense of tranquility and create spaces devoted to recovery and rest. These spaces are referred to as “Third Spaces,” or sanctuaries where a building’s occupants can go to escape life’s frantic pace.

 
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As we continue to build for our innate needs as human beings, improve our overall quality of life and long term health, wellness design is destined for an exciting future.

 

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